Take a Joke, Sweetheart MAG

April 10, 2011
By ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood


He leaned over my desk, his body casting a shadow over my writing. Two fists were suddenly pressed hard next to my book, giving him an air of undeserved authority. “You know they're just joking, right?” His voice was gentle, as if he were speaking to a timid animal.

I nodded slowly, confused, trying to focus on my work as my blood boiled. “I'm aware that they're joking, but jokes can be offensive, and I was feeling uncomfortable,” I said.

He took a deep breath, a small, nearly undetectable smile playing at the corners of his mouth. He shoved his sleeves up his arms. “The more you ask them to stop, the more they'll just keep doing it. That's how they work.” He was telling me what many men had tried to explain before: men don't change, men don't stop, men won't listen to you.

And oh, he was so very smart, his words so very wise. I knew that he thought he was imparting some helpful, kind-hearted wisdom on me. He was trying to save the silly girl who was making a fool of herself by refusing to tolerate something that made her and other girls uncomfortable. He was playing big brother, daddy, the savior on a white horse sent to shut me up.

I looked at him, anger burning the back of my neck and my cheeks. “So, because they won't stop, I should just give up? I should let them make sexist jokes that make me very uneasy?” We were in history class. I thought I deserved to feel safe.

His smirk faltered a bit. “They're just joking. They don't actually mean what they say.”

People were watching us; I could feel their eyes. I was suddenly vulnerable. I wanted them to stop staring, to go away. I wanted this boy to sit down and talk instead of towering over me.

“They may mean those jokes to be harmless, but they're ignorant,” I continued. “Believe me, the jokes don't end at ‘Women should stay in the kitchen.' They continue until they become sexual and inappropriate. I want them to stop now before I have even more reason to be angry.” I'd been down this road before, many times.

“I think you should just give it up before they gang up on you,” he replied, calmly and reasonably, like an adult pacifying a cranky child.

I was so upset I wanted to cry, but the steam gathering behind my eyes made tears impossible. I wondered who he thought he was, standing over a girl he'd never spoken to, telling her that her words were useless, that she could try but she'd always fail. If we had been friends, I would have listened; if he'd spoken to me like a peer, I would have cared. But he was just pushing me down, stuffing me into a box until I suffocated on all of my useless, silly words.

I looked him in the eye and said, “If they're going to be rude, then I will be rude back.”

My comment didn't even make sense. Ten minutes earlier, a group of boys had been trading sexist jokes about women. I had turned around in my seat, looked one of the boys in the eye, and said, “Just please stop, for me. I'm asking you to stop.” That boy looked doubtful but he stopped, and I resumed my work. I ­didn't yell, lecture, or swear. I simply asked. I used words, the only weapon I knew how to use, and everything was okay.

Now this boy had the nerve to tell me that my words didn't mean anything. This boy hurt me more than he realized. He tried to take away the only weapon I had to defend myself.

But he didn't have the power to do that. I will never stop fighting for what I believe is right. I will never stop standing up for myself, my friends, and my gender, and I will never stop using my (stupid, useless, fruitless, beautiful, powerful, amazing) words.

He backed away, easing off my desk. Frustration was apparent in his face, but he kept his features stony and emotionless. “Fine, whatever. But you'll never get anywhere with them, believe me.”

I didn't believe him. To this day, I don't believe him, because I have continually used my knowledge and my words to make others rethink their actions. Sometimes I fail and they don't stop. Sometimes my words get me into trouble. But sometimes I even make a new ally.

Little did he know, that boy didn't break me down. He made me stronger.


The author's comments:
This was a pivotal moment in my life as a feminist. This moment helped me to realize my strength as a woman. After this experience, I've never doubted my power to express my feelings with words.

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This article has 72 comments.


on Jan. 26 2013 at 6:12 am
Roe-Daniels BRONZE, >>>>>>>, Other
2 articles 0 photos 49 comments
This is allsorts of an amazing.Well done 

on Jan. 24 2013 at 5:12 pm
SunshineKarmaGirl, Weedsport, New York
0 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say, Don't Say It At All

So well written! The truth was finally  spoken and I'm glad you wrote this.

Plume BRONZE said...
on Jan. 24 2013 at 2:56 pm
Plume BRONZE, Milano, Other
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments
This is wonderful :) well done. Please check out my work

Long_Gone GOLD said...
on Jan. 19 2013 at 12:02 pm
Long_Gone GOLD, Lansing, Michigan
10 articles 43 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is a good side to everyting, if you look close enough

Love it so much. I can be the same as you sometimes and am a feminest to the extrem. 

on Jan. 16 2013 at 3:08 pm
Luckystar78 ELITE, London, Other
114 articles 0 photos 97 comments

Favorite Quote:
"..though warm as summer it was fresh as spring." (Thomas Hardy) ("Far from the Madding crowd")

This article was such a relief to me - I've spent years trying to defend people and causes when immature boys and girls alike make inappropriate, rude and offensive comments - without even realizing it. I'm glad you didn't let that level of ignorance affect your views - and for the record, I'm a fierce feminist too! Good article, by the way.  

Alanda BRONZE said...
on Nov. 13 2012 at 11:38 am
Alanda BRONZE, Auburn, New York
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I loved it!!!! Way to stand up for yourself. GREAT JOB!

KJackson said...
on Oct. 9 2012 at 11:20 am
The article made me really mad because I know exactly how she feels. Yes I have, when i had workshop some of the boys in there were so rude they kept making like "Why are you in this class, cooking is down the hall" and it mad me so mad. I would tried my best to not let their stupid comments get the best of me but sometimes I said something smart back. To be honest I don't think the people at the school really care about things  like this and when they try anything people don't take them seriously.

on Sep. 17 2012 at 6:05 pm
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1401 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

This article was one for the books! Exactly what runs through a person's mind in this particular situation. The title was certainly eye catching! Loved every word~

bluhs said...
on Jul. 10 2012 at 4:19 pm
bluhs, E, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 111 comments
YES! GIRL POWER!!!

on Jul. 4 2012 at 4:06 pm
This is a great essay! We would love to promote you on our website! We are a non-profit that is dedicated to raising awareness of the prevelance of bullying! Please check us out! http://projectantibully.com

on Jun. 6 2012 at 4:03 pm
ashley112027 BRONZE, Grand Rapids, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you, something great will come out of it."

I loved it!!! Way to stand up for yourself and make a difference!!! What other kind of writing do you do?

on Jun. 6 2012 at 4:03 pm
ashley112027 BRONZE, Grand Rapids, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you, something great will come out of it."

I loved it!!! Way to stand up for yourself and make a difference!!! What other kind of writing do you do?

on Jun. 4 2012 at 12:13 pm
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood

Thanks for reading! :-)

SamsQ GOLD said...
on Jun. 3 2012 at 7:28 pm
SamsQ GOLD, Naperville, Illinois
11 articles 75 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbledore

This is really good!

on May. 6 2012 at 8:56 pm
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood

I'm glad I could reach out to others. <3

rroland GOLD said...
on May. 6 2012 at 7:52 pm
rroland GOLD, Cazenovia, New York
11 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
We except the love we think we deserve

I feel this article goes out to EVERY girl or boy that has been a victim of sexist jokes

on Apr. 26 2012 at 7:48 am
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood

Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it!  I'm glad you liked my article.

on Apr. 26 2012 at 6:49 am
livingparadox GOLD, Dhaka, Other
10 articles 0 photos 7 comments

This piece is so beautiful! I loved how you pictured the whole story in front of the readers' eyes! Keep up :) xx 

 


on Apr. 14 2012 at 11:20 am
ohmakemeover BRONZE, Centerville, Minnesota
3 articles 0 photos 99 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth."- Margaret Atwood

Thank you so much!  Glad you liked it!

Channi said...
on Apr. 14 2012 at 6:01 am
Channi, Blackpool, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?"

Wow this is great! Well done!❤


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